By William Hay
I felt it was time to write of love. Not the love I know today that is jaded as a nation, sanquine with age and brittle. Even my soul today seems like an autumn leaf and the love I speak of is springtime fresh.
It was college of course. Something about higher education and meeting the dreams of parents and societies in that fantasy world of adult kindergarten. It’s called the ivory tower and the climbers still believe in rainbows and pots of gold. It’s also very intellectual and the hormones are begging to have a part in the great debates that change children and history.
Her hair was long and blond in the way wheat is. Her teeth were white as midsummer clouds. It was the fall semester and the world was changing colour. A north wind was blowing and leaves were chasing each other on the streets between the passing cars. I wore a navy double breasted pea jacket but had never been to sea. It was an age of costumes.
Her legs were infinitely long and she was slim and laughed so easily. Her pert breasts lifted as her back arched. Her face was radiant.
I don’t know if I fell in love with her when I first saw her because it seemed thereafter I never had not loved her. It was a sacred love. Eternal in it’s beginning and never ending in the end. Somewhere in between I was forever lost in the middle as so often happens when the intensity of the present precludes all thought of any other matter. Little mattered but to see her and to be with her.
It’s hard to believe in retrospect that I continued to attend my classes though as she shared several it was no great chore that my attendance was spectacular in those. I did however look less at the professors and chalkboards than I did at the nape of her neck . I always sat some seats behind her so the profs perceived my forward gaze as interest in equations or the arcane words they’d scribbled on their chalk boards.
When she sat in class I watched with fascination as her wool skirt rose exposing more of her strong athletic thigh. And if she spoke in class, asking a question after raising her exquisite hand and sculptured arm, my heart fairly sang. When ever I came near her I felt flushed and worried others might notice me blushing. If I had a tail it would have wagged uncontrollably at her approach.
I knew I was being silly. It was acute anquish to have the feelings of childish desire cascade and tumult inside a thoroughly adult body in a very meaningful and serious environment . I was studying to be a doctor and it was deeply disturbing to feel such oscillating emotions. At first my feelings soared just to see her but then I struggled for days to approach her because my nervousness around her quite overwhelmed my faith that in her presence I’d be able to speak.
With practiced casualness I sought her company after class one day and walked with her and then talked with her and tried to leave a memorable impression by joie de vivre, interest and humor. I was dressed in a blue suit and carried a brown brief case having to work after class unlike the other students dressed in studied dishevel.
Later she’d laugh and tell me that her friends called me, “super geek”. I had horn rimmed glasses and was studious and top in the class but never considered myself a ‘geek’. Feeling ever so ignorant , it came as a surprise that the latest costume of student was worn so convincingly.
But then I never thought that she was a ‘party girl’ and that ‘geek’ was her term for the title of ‘scholar’ I so aspired to. There were early clues. In the background the relationship might have heard the horror audience screaming, “don’t go in the shower!” But we weren't listening.
That name calling would be the root of the first argument we’d have lifetimes later older than Moses.
I was heavy. She was light as gossamer. I was the troll to her fairy angel. And the beauty of her lifted the soul within me but I could never rise so high and frivolously as she did with tinkling laughter and whimsical charm so reached desperately in the end. Running back and forth like a dog that has the mistress' scent but but cannot leap an insurmountable barrier. I had such short legs for my long body.
I remember her face like Lana in Doctor Zhivago. She is wearing a brown fur hat and long tan sheepskin coat with high suede boots. It’s outside the ancient brick of the university entrance where a great stone had been placed to commemorate history. At 6 feet I’m taller by only inches and she is looking up at me with fathomless eyes as snow falls around us. We may as well be little people in an upturned bowl of falling feather snow in a quaint forever tourist scene. It’s such a stationary moment of night and lighting. A brass street lantern had been installed not so long ago to replace a glaring neon light that kept away rapists but made the university look too much like a factory.
She is waiting as I am bending to kiss her. Our lips meet and I am never alone again and there is no more fear in the world and the feel of her in my arms beyond my parka and her coat is something purely wonderful. I have found a home. I hold her as cherished and precious while feeling strong beyond my years. This paradox of vulnerability and immortality would suddenly come alive to never leave me.
Later I would smell her perfume on my scarf and return to it over and over again as I wrote some long forgotten essay. There is really nothing I remember of those months of meeting but her. Every image of classrooms or halls is of her coming around a corner or her sitting there so poised. There must have been reels of tapes in memory banks of halls and classrooms and cafeteria moments when she was not there but they are all pushed aside by the details of the moments with her. All I ever recall is whatever she wore in those environments. Reality seemed an extension of her elegant attire.
Perhaps that came from reading Vogue. She loved that magazine and her clothing emulated the finest Paris haute coiffure in the little Canadian country town. It wasn’t really anything then but before I knew Paris, London, New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo and LA it was my only city.
Not long after that kiss everything became ours and I stopped to think of myself in any way but as ourselves. I don’t know that she ever did. I just assumed it like I assumed so much in that brief encounter with deity. A kiss can leave a trail of joy and tears.
In retrospect to her I must have seemed like a love struck puppy. I am quite sure I never humped her leg. I may well have drooled on her dress. I'm sure I messed her lipstick and mascara. We argued about such things. But when she showed me the pink leash and the lock for the cage I ran away to the northern timber and eventually went to sea. I might have noticed earlier had she not given me treats for doing tricks and carried me lovingly as she did, in her purse to the parties.
Sometimes when I’m alone howling at the moon I think of her. Scratching at the mange, I remember her forever young and beautiful . The scent of her remains indescribable.